Pune Police question former DCP (crime) in Rashmi Shukla illegal phone tapping case

According to the investigating officials, DCP Dahane served with the crime branch during Shukla’s tenure wherein she had given ‘verbal orders’ to the junior IPS officer to tap phones

Rashmi Shukla (Photo Courtesy: Social Media)
Rashmi Shukla (Photo Courtesy: Social Media)

Nadeem Inamdar

The Pune Police on Monday questioned former Pune City DCP (crime) Pankaj Dahane in connection with the unauthorized and illegal tapping of mobile phones of politicians in a case involving Former Pune Police Commissioner Rashmi Shukla (57). According to the investigating officials, DCP Dahane served with the crime branch during Shukla’s tenure wherein she had given ‘verbal orders’ to the junior IPS officer to tap phones. Shukla is expected to be summoned by the city police for questioning in the next few days, police said.

Investigators said that till date seven policemen including officers attached to the Technical Analysis Wing (TAW) have been questioned so far. The TAW functions under the crime branch and has the necessary infrastructure and technical expertise to intercept phones. The investigators questioned them on who had ordered interception and tapping of the phones and how mobile phone tapping was carried out by them.

On Feb 16, the Pune Police had lodged an FIR against IPS Rashmi Shukla at Bund Garden Police Station under Section 26 of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, in connection with the illegal phone tapping of State Congress President Nana Patole during the tenure of former CM Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP government. A press release issued by Pune Police stated that during the monsoon session of State assembly in 2022, the Maharashtra Government had then announced that the state is ready to probe the allegations of illegal phone tapping. This committee has submitted its report to the government which has accepted it and a case was registered against Shukla at Bund Garden police station,” the release stated.

The three-member committee headed by Director General of Police Sanjay Pandey was formed to conduct an inquiry of alleged phone tapping incidents between 2015 to 2019. Other members of the committee included the State Intelligence Department (SID) commissioner and additional commissioner of the Special Branch (SB).

Patole in 2021 had alleged that his phone was tapped in the pseudonym of one ‘Amjad Khan’ who was involved in ‘narcotics smuggling’. He had further alleged that the mobile phones of the Personal Assistant (PA) to Union Minister Raosaheb Danve, BJP Member of Parliament Sanjay Kakade and other elected representatives like Bacchu Kadu and Ashish Deshmukh were tapped by the previous government.

Shukla served as the Pune Police Commissioner between March 2016 and July 2018 after which she was transferred to the State Intelligence Department (SID) and later was posted as DG (Civil Defence). State political leaders alleged that illegal phone tappings took place during Shukla’s SID tenure as well. The IPS officer is currently on central deputation and posted at Hyderabad where she serves as Additional Director-General of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), South Zone. Former Chief Minister Fadnavis during a media briefing quoted Shukla’s letter addressed to the Director General of Police (DGP), Maharashtra, regarding corruption in transfer of police officials.

Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil has said that Shukla had carried out illegal phone tappings of some politicians on the pretext that they were connected with illicit narcotics trade. Shukla had last week recorded her statement for two hours at the Colaba Police Station in a case related to the illegal phone tappings of Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut and former minister Eknath Khadse when she was heading the SID.

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